Breaking Down the Midwest Region
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - Looking at this year's NCAA Tournament, it appears that the Midwest region is the toughest region by far.
Let’s take a look at this region and break down the bracket and tell you who will emerge out of this bracket to the Final Four.
Of course, we have Wichita State as the #1 seed who I have on 'upset alert'. Looking deeper in the bracket, one of the hottest teams in the country, Louisville, has been installed as the #4 seed while Kentucky has underachieved this year and been installed as the #8 seed.
Looking deeper, the play in game with Tennessee/ Iowa will be a dangerous first round matchup for UMass and second round matchup for Duke. Both Iowa and Tennessee have length and size at all positions on the court and are excellent offensive rebounding teams. Watch out for Tennessee/Iowa as they have Sweet 16 potential.
A team not many will be looking at in this region is Kentucky. The Wildcats are a talented team with tall athletic guards, and with Randle in the paint, this team is dangerous as I have them upsetting Wichita State in the second round which will set-up a Sweet 16 match-up with in-state rival Louisville. This will be a game where the public will be heavily involved on Louisville while I fully expect Kentucky to beat Louisville as they did earlier this season.
The other Sweet 16 match-up will be Michigan vs. Iowa as I have Iowa knocking off Duke in the second round. Iowa is a team that underachieved down the stretch but they are extremely talented, deep, and long and athletic. This will be a BIG 10 match-up as these teams split 1-1 in the regular season. Iowa has the big advantage in this game as they are a MUCH better rebounding team and with 6 guys in their starting rotation at 6'6" or taller.
I like the Iowa Hawkeyes to advance to the Elite 8 to face Kentucky. This will be an interesting game, but in what I expect to be a close game, I give Iowa the edge with the better three point shooters and the better free throw shooting team. This is an Iowa team that can score (82 ppg), can shoot free throws (73.3%), and are ranked 7th in the nation grabbing 41 rebounds a game. The Hawkeyes can go 10 deep if they need to and can play with a variety of different lineups to match-up with opposing teams.
With that being said, I see Iowa as a true 'Cinderella' team breaking out of their slump and advancing to the Final Four out of the Midwest Region.